Diedrick's offense dominated the Pittsburgh defense. Diedrick said it all boils down to execution. "I think for the most part it was probably a little bit better execution," said Diedrick. "I thought we were very aggressive coming off the line and we did some things to our schemes. I think overall it was more execution."
The Irish dominated up front rushing for 352 yards but the Irish passing game struggled with just 33 total yards. Diedrick said they stuck with what was working. "I though the running game was working, we were getting some big plays and I think it shortened the game and kept Pitt off the field—two objectives we wanted to accomplish. I thought we were successful in both."
The have struggled running the ball most of the year but Diedrick said they have remained committed to the run all year. "We've had that commitment all along; it's just that we struggled there for a couple of games. It's probably easier to stay with that commitment when you are getting some big runs and you're executing in the running game. All along we'd like to have a balanced offense."
The Irish had thrown for 299 yards in their previous game against Purdue. Diedrick was asked if they might have caught the Pitt coaches off guard with their game plan. "If we did, we did. That's fine--I'll catch them off guard. Whatever happened between the tight ends, it comes down to executing, that's something we weren't doing on a consistent basis earlier. I thought we did a fair job of that on Saturday."
Regardless of how the Irish were able to move the ball, the most important factor to Diedrick was getting the win. "I think we have to definitely to be a lot more efficient. You're on a three game losing streak; everything is kind of against you. The kids stayed tight, they stuck together. In the off-week, I think they committed themselves to getting better and I think our execution showed that. It was big, any time you get a win, Sunday morning, when you woke up you felt a hell of a lot better about yourself."
The Irish will have to be better in the passing game against USC. Diedrick agreed and said they have to find a way to be more consistent. "I think we need to be a lot more efficient and consistent in our passing game."
Freshman quarterback Brady Quinn will get his first start against Notre Dame rival, USC. We asked Diedrick if he might try to ease Quinn into the game because the USC defense will surely come after him. "We'll probably do that—try to get him in the game early, you have to."
The Irish had success running the football against Pitt and Quinn has shown he can make plays in the passing game against Purdue. Notre Dame will likely need to be efficient in both areas if they want to beat USC.